BlastOff! votes for Pedro

Sara Macho

‘Outback Joe’ demonstrates how to hold a python at BlastOff! yesterday afternoon. The animal demonstration was sponsored by the Kent State Student Credit Union.

Credit: Ben Breier

There was one question on the minds of the 4,000 plus crowd last night at the annual BlastOff! celebration: Where’s Pedro?

Efren Ramirez, more commonly known as Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, performed after two other musical talents, Plan8 and Blitz.

Ramirez, a Los Angeles native, is promoting his Vote for Pedro Tour. He began DJing five years ago in California. Ramirez, a soft spoken 22-year-old and third year theater major at the California State University, Los Angeles, enjoys reaching out to others.

“If I can move someone, then I’ve done my job,” he said. “I’m not going to hold anything back.”

Ramirez was among many other eager BlastOff! participants. Dozens of university clubs made an appearance.

BlastOff! was sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement and the All Campus Programming Board. At the event, students and Kent residents had the opportunity to talk with 70 university organizations, hold exotic animals, take a hot air balloon ride and listen to three musical talents.

BlastOff! participants and guests had the chance to hold animals such as an albino python, an American alligator and an Australian bearded dragon. Outback Ray Anderson of Traveling Animal Shoes assisted students as they nervously held onto the creatures.

Ryan Neubig, community relations for the Week of Welcome branch of the Center for Student Involvement, said BlastOff! is one of the biggest events the university holds. BlastOff! aims to get students involved in campus activities.

“We want students to know what’s available to them,” Neubig said. “It’s a great way to start the school year.”

Organizations lined the track welcoming students with open arms and free favors.

Sigma Sigma Sigma Vice President Kristen Rohal encouraged visitors to play ring toss and pick up complimentary candy.

“The candy definitely helps draw attention to the table,” Rohal said. “When they see that cup filled to the top with candy, they run over.”

The main concern of every Greek life organization was recruitment, which is in its second year online.

Rohal said there are many benefits of going Greek.

“There are so many opportunities open to you, such as community service and leadership opportunities, ” she said.

The BlastOff! celebration was also a potential employment opportunity for sports enthusiasts.

The Department of Recreational Services is hiring for all positions. Intramural referees and scorekeepers are needed as well.

Aside from freshman students, Kent residents and university alumni attended the event.

Theresa Wilkinson, a 1999 graduate of Kent State and Boston resident, is visiting Kent and decided to attend BlastOff! because she remembers attending the event her freshman year.

“I remember when I was a freshman here,” Wilkinson said. “Going to BlastOff! made me feel more welcome.”

Jim Fruit, 79, of Kent also attended the event.

“I enjoy seeing the kids,” he said. Fruit visited with his two grandchildren, both Kent State students.

Shayla Patton, marketing chair for the All Campus Programming Board, said she enjoys visiting with students as well.

“BlastOff! is a great way for incoming freshman to meet new people, get involved and have fun before school starts,” Patton said.

Contact student politics reporter Sara Macho at [email protected].